So youre interested in eating only plants, eh?
Well, youve come to the right place to learn all about it. Ive seen many people over the years have success with a Plant-Based Diet.
Truth be told though, Ive seen many people also struggle with it too.
(After all, donuts are plant-based and pizza just got declared a vegetable).
There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to embark on eliminating animal products from your diet.
Today, Ill share with you how to safely and correctly follow a plant-based menu and still hit your goals.
Now, although Ive been running this site for 10 years, I may be drawing a large target on my back by diving headfirst into a topic Ive thus far avoided.
As a blogger, if you want to tenfold your hate mail, take a stance on a Plant-Based Diet.
And saying ANYTHING about veganism for OR against is an easy way to get virtual produce tossed at you.
Although most people discover Nerd Fitness through our guides on Paleo or Keto, we get SO many questions on how to eat a Plant-Based Diet that I figured Id give my two cents.
With pop stars and famous directors advising folks to try veganism, these inquiries are only going to increase.
So today, we are going to talk about how to eat a Plant-Based Diet safely.
The right way, and the wrong way, to go vegan or vegetarian.
BIG ASS CAVEAT: Im not going to try to convince you to give up meat. If youre reading this, Ill assume youre here because youre interested in doing so, and want to know the best path through it.
The politics, controversy (yes, Ive read the China Study), and geopolitical impact of veganism are beyond the scope of this article. Im just a nerd who studies the hell outta health and wellness and sometimes wears pants.
So setting all the controversy aside, I want to explore the science and the how to for people who are heading down this path.
There are quite a few different versions of a Plant-Based Diet.
Itll be good to start with some definitions so we land on the same page.
According to the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian is someone who does not eat foods that consist of, or have been produced with the aid of products consisting of or created from, any part of the body of a living or dead animal.
So NO eating:
Instead, vegetarians DO eat:
Plants, more or less.
Vegetarian can be a broader term for more specific examples of plant-based eating. Some examples would be:
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians is someone who doesnt eat animal flesh but does eat dairy and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian.
Lacto vegetarians dont eat eggs but do eat dairy.
Ovo vegetarians avoid all animals products, with the exception of eggs.
Vegans avoid all animal products, including dairy and eggs and even things like honey. If it came from an animal, its not a part of a vegan diet. Some even take it one step further and eat only a raw vegan diet, where the plants consumed are not cooked prior to consumption.
The above are the most common forms of Plant-Based Diets, but there are others!
A pescatarian is someone who consumes no animal products except fish and shellfish.
A flexitarian is someone who follows a vegetarian diet a majority of the time, but who will occasionally eat meat.
Now granted, neither pescatarians nor flexitarians are technically vegetarians because both contain animal products on the menu.
However, they are mostly plant-based, so worth mentioning especially if somebody is doing this in an attempt to be healthier.
There are many more considerations and labels, which can tackle a lot of the ethical stances around being vegan: not wearing animal products, the treatment of animals, etc.
To be blunt, this is outside the scope of this article.
Im only interested in If you are going to eat only plants, how do you do it? So well politely ignore clothing, testing, and captivity for this article.
Which brings us to
What you can or cannot eat on a Plant-Based Diet depends a lot on what kind of vegetarianism you follow.
Eggs and dairy, for example, may or may not be included. It really comes down to what path you are choosing.
There are some general food groups we can consider as universal no matter what form of vegetarianism you follow.
A Plant-Based Diet will include the following foods:
Whole grains. Rice, oats, barley, and buckwheat would all be examples of whole grains. Most vegetarian diets include a sizable amount of whole grains as their base.
Vegetables. Of course, a vegetarian diet is going to include vegetables! And it should because vegetables are great for you! Theyre packed full of nutrients, fiber, and generally low in calories. Most people could stand to eat more veggies. If you find yourself not being able to stomach greens, I got you. Check out this post for tips on how to turn around any vegetable hater.
Legumes. Beans, lentils, and soy make up the legume family. If youre following a plant-based or vegan diet, legumes would be a great way to get protein (more on this to follow).
Fruit. Bananas, apples, and oranges all come from plants, so all are vegetarian-friendly. While high in fructose (sugar), they are also nutrient dense. Our general stance on fruit around these parts is to eat in moderation.
Nuts and seeds. Again, they come from plants, so almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are good to go on any vegetarian plan you pick. So is quinoa, which although is often thought of as a grain, is actually a seed. Mind=blown.
Nuts and seeds, although high in fat and calories, are another great way to get protein on a Plant-Based Diet.
No matter what type of vegetarian diet you pick, youd be free to eat the above (provided they fit into your current nutrition goals but Ill get to that shortly).
The below will depend on what kind of vegetarianism you are trying. We may be stepping into controversial waters (remember, dont shoot the messenger) with the following:
Eggs. Eggs are a great source of vitamin B12 and protein, which will become important in a section further down.
Dairy. Whether or not you consume dairy will be determined by your specific strain of plant-based nutrition. On the one hand, its from an animal (moo). On the other hand, dairy can be full of nutrients that might be harder to source from only plants, like omega-3s and calcium.
Fish. Look, I get it. Fish are animals, so technically not allowed on a vegetarian diet. However, if you eat a mostly-Plant-Based Diet that includes a little fish, it wouldnt be too different from a Mediterranean Diet. There are a lot worse ways to eat than like the Mediterraneans. And as mentioned earlier, depending on who you talk to, being pescatarian could be a form of a Plant-Based Diet.
Thats a lot of the major food groups when it comes to plant-based eating.
So heres all you need to remember:
Whatever form of vegetarianism you may pick, stick to REAL food whenever possible.
Pinto beans, asparagus, apples, and quinoa would all be examples of real food. These are nutrient-dense foods that will keep you full and energized throughout your day. Deep fried cheese balls, donuts, and candy bars are examples of plant-based, but not real food.
And Ill give out a warning on processed vegan junk food in a moment.
For now, there may be a question you are thinking.
Its one of the most common ones we get when it comes to eating a vegetarian or vegan diet.
There are plenty of examples of people losing weight on a Plant-Based Diet.
However, there are also stories of the opposite where people gained body fat when going vegan.
However, anecdotal evidence isnt science.
What does the research say?
If you look at studies on the subject, theres nothing here that will surprise us: plant-based calories count just as much as animal-based calories.
There are some studies which show the success of veganism compared to omnivore diets for weight loss. Then there are others showing that a diet including meat outperforms vegan diets for trimming body fat.
Depending on who youre trying to impress, you can find six studies that say vegans will lose more weight than meat eaters, or half a dozen studies that show vegans will lose less weight.
It honestly doesnt matter, because when it comes to weight loss, it comes down to calories, calories, calories.
Oh and calories. Did I mention calories?
Put bluntly, if youre not losing weight, youre consuming too many calories.
It doesnt matter if theyre vegan or vegetarian or Paleo or certified organic. Check out our Why cant I lose weight? article to learn the science behind why!
Lets get to the point: Youre here, youre eating plants, and you want to lose weight. So heres how to do it.
If you typically ate a standard American diet filled with burgers and french fries, and then moved to salads? Yeah, Id imagine that you would lose weight simply because youre now eating fewer calories than you were eating in the past.
However, if you go from scarfing down normal burgers to scarfing down an Impossible Burger or a vegan burger? Maybe not.
Lets take a look:
The Impossible Burger is made with wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein and heme (a molecule found in plants and animals). So its very calorically dense.
Moral of the story: dont assume that food without any meat in it will have fewer calories in it.
While there are plenty of nuances, when it comes to weight loss, calories in and calories out plays a major role in whether or not you are successful.
Just because something is vegan doesnt mean its necessarily healthy. As someone pointed out in our private Facebook Academy group, Oreos are vegan.
If you dont plan properly, you could be deluding yourself into thinking veganism will be a weight loss strategy.
I know that adopting a new lifestyle can be challenging, especially if youre really busy. Whether its veganism, a low-carb diet, or trying to build muscle, embarking on a new habit can be tough if you dont know what to do.
Weight-loss, no matter which strategy you pick, can be a hard road to follow.
I want you to know that youre not alone, were here to help. We offer a 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program to help busy people like you embark on complete life overhauls. We can help you with dietary changes, exercise, and accountability so you can create new healthy habits that fit into your chaotic day-to-day life!
If youre thinking about a Plant-Based Diet for weight loss, we can help you switch to a less restrictive diet over time. Slow and steady is our preferred approach.
If youd like to learn more, click on the big image below:
Contrary to popular belief, you CAN get enough protein when following a Plant-Based Diet.
However, protein consumption SHOULD be something thats prioritized if youre trying to lose weight, build muscle, and be healthier. What we call protein is actually a combination of different amino acids. There are 20 or so amino acids that we use to build muscle and keep our organs functioning.
Nine of these amino acids our body cant produce itself, so we need to get them through food.
Getting all nine is important, because these amino acids do everything from build and repair muscle tissue (which is HUGE for strength training), run our metabolism, and even help our genes function correctly.
All nine are found together in all forms of meat. When you eat a piece of chicken, you are getting all nine.
When it comes to non-animal sources, most plants will generally be missing one or two of these nine essential amino acids.
Soy might be the best way to get all nine together in one plant; however, soy doesnt seem to provide the same biological functionality as dairy or eggs.
You can overcome this small challenge easily by varying your dietary choices.
Read more here:
Eating a Plant-Based Diet: Safely Going Vegan | Nerd Fitness
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet: What Are The Health Benefits? - Women's Health - February 24th, 2020
- Is Growth Hormone Safe: Widespread Fear of HGH Therapy - Gazette Review - February 24th, 2020
- Birds learn from other birds on TV to make better food decisions - CNET - February 24th, 2020
- How to Work Out Effectively Without Completely Giving Up Alcohol - VICE - February 24th, 2020
- Keto Diet Dangers You Should Know About - February 21st, 2020
- Is Intermittent Fasting Safe For Women? All Your Questions Answered - mindbodygreen.com - February 21st, 2020
- Insects grown on food waste are safe to use in animal feed - All about feed - February 21st, 2020
- Is Dry Shampoo Bad For Your Hair? Potential Health Risks And How To Use It Safely - YourTango - February 21st, 2020
- 7 Questions You Have About The Love Is Blind Pods, Answered By The Cast Who Fell In Love In Them - Refinery29 - February 21st, 2020
- This weight loss pill may increase your risk of cancer - NewsDio - February 21st, 2020
- Eating in moderation a fallacy - The Star, Kenya - February 18th, 2020
- Are plastic containers safe for our food? Experts say its hard to know - The Guardian - February 18th, 2020
- Recipe of the Day: Ahi Tuna Zoodler - KSDK.com - February 18th, 2020
- Private zoo in Mineola to close after recent break-in that released monkey - Longview News-Journal - February 18th, 2020
- Busting the meat myth... and Maasai paradox - nation.co.ke - February 18th, 2020
- Heartburn at night: Causes and remedies - Medical News Today - February 18th, 2020
- What Is Mycoprotein? Meet the Vegan Meat Ingredient of the Future - LIVEKINDLY - February 18th, 2020
- Why do we love fat cats and dogs but discriminate against fat people? - NBC News - February 18th, 2020
- Locke & Key Shows the Problem with Trying to Make a Hit TV Show from an Algorithm - IndieWire - February 18th, 2020
- Hospitals Are Finally Going Vegan Thanks to This Coalition - LIVEKINDLY - February 18th, 2020
- Local experts weigh in on reducing the risk of childhood lead poisoning - Richland Source - February 15th, 2020
- FODMAP Friendly Partners, That Protein, Introduce First Ever FODMAP Friendly Organic Super Protein Powder for the UK. - MENAFN.COM - February 15th, 2020
- Avoid these meals throughout breastfeeding - Sahiwal Tv - February 15th, 2020
- Health risks for inactive children: This should be a wake-up call for parents - The Irish Times - February 15th, 2020
- If You Want to Try an Elimination Diet, Read This First - Outside Magazine - February 13th, 2020
- Students with allergies struggle with food options - Sandspur - February 13th, 2020
- Is the keto diet everything it's cracked up to be? - Good Food - February 13th, 2020
- 16 best and healthiest things to buy at Costco, according to dietitians - NBC News - February 13th, 2020
- What is liposuction? How the procedure works and how painful it is - Insider - INSIDER - February 13th, 2020
- Kefir vs. yogurt: Benefits, nutrition, and more - Medical News Today - February 13th, 2020
- How to Cut Your Spring Cleaning Time in Half - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 13th, 2020
- The ABC's of Community Connection - The Outlook - February 13th, 2020
- Exercise and eat heathily if you aim to lose weight - LancasterOnline - February 9th, 2020
- Bulking: What It Is and How to Do It - Healthline - February 9th, 2020
- 8 Incredibly Honest Things Rene Zellweger, 50, Has Said About Aging - Prevention.com - February 9th, 2020
- Cardiologist promotes heart health - News - The Wyoming County Examiner - February 9th, 2020
- Ducati's Superleggera V4 is a Panigale on a diet and turned to 11 - CNET - February 9th, 2020
- Researcher takes on unenviable task of finding out if dog poo can be safely used in our gardens - ABC News - February 9th, 2020
- Jehovah's Witness Drug and Alcohol Rehab - Addiction Center - February 9th, 2020
- The Quickest Way to Lose Weight: Intermittent Fasting. Here's How - The Beet - February 5th, 2020
- Cardiologist promotes heart health - The Wyoming County Examiner - February 5th, 2020
- Plant-Based Oils: Which Ones to Use and How to Safely Cook with Them - One Green Planet - February 5th, 2020
- Trends and Products: Dietary Needs - Pet Age - February 5th, 2020
- Diet Demand Addresses Emotional Eating as Underlying Cause of Weight Gain - GlobeNewswire - February 5th, 2020
- The Best Vitamins, Supplements and Products for Healthier Hair - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic - February 5th, 2020
- Heart of Palm: Nutrition, Benefits, and Uses - Healthline - February 2nd, 2020
- Smoked Salmon: Nutrition, How It's Made, and More - Healthline - February 2nd, 2020
- Diet Demand Addresses Emotional Eating as Underlying Cause of Weight Gain - Benzinga - February 2nd, 2020
- Battling the bulge: What women say - Daily Nation - February 2nd, 2020
- Caffeinated Water: Everything You Need to Know - Healthline - February 2nd, 2020
- Kansas City Chiefs' Hill looking beyond Super Bowl to Tokyo 2020 Games - Insidethegames.biz - February 2nd, 2020
- Is Fish-Free February set to become the new Veganuary? - www.businessgreen.com - February 2nd, 2020
- Hill looking beyond Super Bowl as he seeks to join Hayes in bridging Olympic gap - Insidethegames.biz - February 2nd, 2020
- Taylor Swift has opened up about her battle with an eating disorder - Music News - January 24th, 2020
- Celebrity fitness expert Anwar Wahhab puts the spotlight on BioPrint to lose weight - Indulgexpress - January 24th, 2020
- Forget Detox Diets! and Support Your Body's Detoxification Naturally Every Single Day Tips from a Registered Nutritionist - The Wokingham Paper - January 24th, 2020
- Why avoiding strength training as part of your new fitness regime is a mistake - The Irish News - January 24th, 2020
- DJs share their tips for going sober in the rave - Mixmag - January 24th, 2020
- NUTRISHOP is Jumpstarting New Year's Resolutions With Free In-Store Nutrition and Wellness Consultations - Yahoo Finance - January 22nd, 2020
- I Tried the OMAD Diet, and I Loved It - A Sweet Life - January 22nd, 2020
- High blood pressure: The supplement proven to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure - Express - January 22nd, 2020
- Greenleaf: Pine Island has large population of pileated woodpeckers - Pine Island Eagle - January 22nd, 2020
- Here is how to safely use the sponge diet as a January detox - Lancashire Post - January 20th, 2020
- Are Weight Loss Pills Total BS? Heres the Skinny - Greatist - January 20th, 2020
- Can You Overdose on Vitamins? - Healthline - January 20th, 2020
- Foods and exercises to avoid heart problems during pregnancy - Times of India - January 20th, 2020
- Finding Your Dogs Healthy Weight - Patch.com - January 20th, 2020
- Reducing Barriers to Care and Addressing Social Determinants of Health - Annals of Internal Medicine - January 20th, 2020
- How to get fit: 5 easy strategies that mean even lazy people can be fitter and healthier - T3 - January 20th, 2020
- Solitary confinement is bad for the heart too - Massive Science - January 20th, 2020
- Goops Netflix series: Its so much worse than I expected and I cant unsee it - Ars Technica - January 20th, 2020
- Intermittent Fasting with Cannabis: Can You Use CBD and Marijuana on the IF Diet Plan? - HealthMJ - January 15th, 2020
- Is It Safe to Eat Mango If You Have Diabetes? - Healthline - January 15th, 2020
- Thousands of people in Yorkshire living without cookers, washing machines and fridges - Yorkshire Post - January 15th, 2020
- This Is Your Body On Red Meat - HuffPost - January 15th, 2020
- How to choose a 2020 diet based on science - Inverse - January 15th, 2020
- Intermittent Fasting is the most searched diet trend of 2019 - Irish Mirror - January 15th, 2020
- Health Department cites 2 teen treatment facilities on Big Island - Honolulu Star-Advertiser - January 15th, 2020
- High blood pressure: Adding this shrub to your tea could lower your reading - Express - January 15th, 2020
- New State of the Science Medical Program Targets the Obesity Epidemic - Yahoo Finance - January 15th, 2020